This is a book that does what it says on the tin, especially the subtitle about exploring fundamental mechanisms of thought. A strong movement in cognitive science is exploring how the understanding and use of metaphor is not just a rhetorical flourish to liven up poetry and prose but central to how we live in the physical world. Hofstadter and the FARG are major players in this movement. The book describes AI systems developed by the FARG over the past 15+ years that involve new memory and conceptual structures and use stochastic algorithms to reason by analogy. However it is a technical text, you will learn much about the work and the technical issues involved, but if you are seeking the rush of excitement at being exposed to exciting big ideas and new possibilities that a generation of neo-hippy computer scientists felt reading Godel, Escher Bach, and Metamagical Themas, you will be disappointed. The Hofstadter masterplan is present, and the ideas are still big and exciting, but the sad fact of doing science, that the details can be hard and complex to an untrained audience, is confronted here. This is a valuable book, but hard work for the non-specialist.